>The Bare Facts… a response

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Yesterday I posted a blog about bare backing and the danger that young people are putting themselves in everyday.

A reader commented by adding an interview from DNA magazine with Bel Ami Porn Producer and Director George Duroy.

“There’s a growing push to ban barebacking in porn due to health concerns. How do you feel about this”?

Would it ever occur to you that banning car chases in films would make our roads safer? Porn is a fantasy, not an instruction manual. It often comes with a disclaimer warning customers about the risks of condom-free sex, explains that the models get tested and advises the customers to do the same. Porn doesn’t, per se, promote unsafe sex. It reflects trends in the gay community. In the best case, this is a question of who is the chicken and who is the egg?

The spread of HIV and other STI’s is a legitimate concern. If the gay community wants to do something really sensible and effective, the best thing to do is to voluntarily close down the darkrooms in the back of clubs and discos. That’s where people get infected. I don’t know anybody who got infected from watching a porn film. Porn has as much to do with the spread of HIV and AIDs nowadays as voodoo with the spread of cholera in Haiti.

Such a statement demands a response.

Firstly let us make one thing very clear… 
The producers of barebacking porn do it to make money. 
Asking a bareback porn producer if barebacking porn contributes to the spread of HIV is like asking big tobacco in the nineties if cigarettes contribute to cancer. Somebody with a financial interest in their own product is unlikely to speak out against it.
It is well documented that the Porn industry is facing a dilemma. Porn over the years has had to become more and more explicit in order to satisfy an audience that is becoming increasingly desensitized. One only needs to visit sites like Bel Ami to see that “Condom Free” and “Bareback” are being used as sales gimmicks along side, brothers and identical twins. 
George is correct when he says that porn is a fantasy not a manual but this is precisely the problem. The rise of the porn industry has mainly been fueled by technology. The internet has served to make porn readily available to any young Gay teenager with access to the world wide web. Without proper access to sexual education these young people have no frame of reference for what is normal and what is fantasy. Long before my first truly sexual encounter with another man I was watching Gay porn. It would be naive to think that these movies did not effect my sexual conduct, in fact I know it to be so.
George is right, banning barebacking porn will not stop the spread of HIV/AIDS just like banning car chases will not stop car crashes, but his suggestion that banning darkrooms is the best thing to do is also specious. Back rooms in most cases are required to provide lube and condoms. There is the opportunity for safe sex conduct. In a barebacking scene there is not. Partners do not stop mid way to ask each other their HIV status, the top does not ask the bottom if he wants to use a condom. No safe sex conduct is even alluded to.
People don’t get infected from watching a porn film but what bareback porn does is desensitize us to behavior that is dangerous. Warnings and disclaimers are fine when the viewer has purchased a movie but what about all the “clips” online that have been cut from movies or the home made stuff that is now flooding the internet.
The question of fighting HIV/AIDS is a huge one for our community and the blame cannot all be laid entirely at the feet of the porn industry but when fighting a War you use every weapon in your arsenal. That means fighting trends that can do just as much damage through bad education as the disease itself.
You can keep your bareback porn, it is after all your right to watch what you want, and engage sexually with other people in the manner in which you want but don’t be naive. 
Condoms and lube prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, 
barebacking certainly does not, 
and the people who make money from barebacking certainly have no authority to tell us what they do is okay just because people will do it anyway.